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CSOs ask N/Assembly to probe FG’s $3.4bn COVID-19 loan, subsidy savings

Nine civil society organisations (CSOs) on Friday urged the National Assembly to investigate the $3.4billion loan received by the Federal Government from the International Monetary…

Nine civil society organisations (CSOs) on Friday urged the National Assembly to investigate the $3.4billion loan received by the Federal Government from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

They also decried the federal government’s excessive requests for borrowing and the accelerated approval by the parliament without concrete proof of what the loans were used for.

The nine CSOs led by the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, at a media briefing in Abuja, said the government’s penchant for borrowing had pushed the country’s public debt to N87.9 trillion, equivalent to $114.3 billion.

Rafsanjani, who addressed newsmen on behalf of others, urged the government to account for savings from fuel subsidy removal from May 2023 till date.

“The escalating debt burden has profound implications for the well-being of Nigerian citizens, and failure to act quickly could result in additional 23 million Nigerians living in poverty and 80 milliion working-age citizens without a full time job by 2030.

“These concerning trends underscore the need for the National Assembly to urgently do the needful by among others, investigate the movement and spending of loans received by the Federal Government in the past and present administrations, including but not limited to the $3.4billion loan obtained from IMF as reported in the 2020 annual audited report published by the Auditor-General for the Federation,” Rafsanjani said.

The CSOs also urged the government to stop borrowing for recurrent expenditure (personnel and overheads) and dilatory capital expenditure that adds no value to economic growth, wealth creation and development.

Other CSOs, represented at the media briefing, include Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), International Budget Partnership, Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative, Oxfam, Social Action, Christian Aid and ActionAid.

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